Category: Home Sweet Home

the new {shared} big girl room

As soon as the girls left for school this morning I started working on their new room to get it finished up today! It has been two and a half weeks since the shared room process started and I was more than ready to finally get it together!

This is what it looked like when they left (and what it looked like two nights ago when we put the beds together!)- the rest of the room was a disaster of CRAP EVERYWHERE: 
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Can you tell they were excited about their new beds?!

And here is their finished shared big girl bedroom!

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I got their reaction on video too! After I turned it off Rory hugged me and told me she just loved it so much! There is absolutely NOTHING better than making my home pretty for my girls. I can’t wait for all the fun they will have in their new room!

Bedding: Target

Monkey’s Sign: Hobby Lobby

Unicorn Head: Target

Beds: Walmart

 

Fixer Friday : Bathroom Cabinets Edition

When we lived in Savannah I started on a bathroom re-do project but never got completely done. I was so terrified to paint the bathroom cabinets that I left them be the light wood color I hated and resented overtime I looked at them.

Our home now has those same cabinets and I’ve stared at them with disdain since we moved in May. After redoing the china cabinet last week, I decided WHAT THE HECK, LETS DO THIS THANG.IMG_4528

So, quite literally, I woke up and decided to do it on Tuesday.

My first step was to go on Pinterest and look at some bathrooms that were the size of mine and that I thought, you know, I wouldn’t mind looking at that every day. After seeing MANY white cabinets or black or dark stains, I typed in “blue bathroom cabinets” in the search bar. That is when I saw this picture and immediately knew I needed to do a blueish greenish color on my bathroom cabinets.

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After I made that decision I went into the bathroom to look at the tile to make sure it would match and low and behold- IT WAS MEANT TO BE. Not too matchy but in the same family of color. Yes.IMG_4538

I got my trusty sander and went to town on the cabinets. They had a protective coat so I made sure to knock all that off. Then I took the drawers out and the doors off. All the hardware was placed in a baggy PER DOOR. I only had two doors so it wasn’t a big deal, but I can see how confusing and jumbled things could be if you took them off and put them in a pile. You want to be sure you separate them out per door.

I headed to Lowe’s to grab some paint. It took me a while to find the color I wanted. Everything seemed a little too blue or a little too green. Finally I settled on Valspar 5002-4B La Fonda Villa Fountain in a Satin finish. One reason I chose this color was because it is a National Trust for Historic Preservation color and in my experience they have always turned out great. I feel if it has that title you really can’t go wrong. Here is an online swatch of it but it clearly isn’t the same as in person or on a surface.2a45c69ba43b1d953f9ece4433089345

I went and grabbed Ryder from school and headed home to paint!

Here are the cabinets before I started:

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The first coat when on pretty patchy and thin so I was very nervous thinking, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” (I have tried rotating this picture a million times but IT IS NOT ROTATING. Sigh.)IMG_4543Luckily, it didn’t stay that way! I painted three solid coats on every surface of the cabinets and that seemed like the perfect amount for them. I painted the doors on the ground and then carefully inserted the drawers and painted the fronts of them. (AGAIN, WON’T ROTATE, KILL ME NOW.)

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Right at the end of this project I may or may not have had a moment of clumsiness and well…. this is what happens.

IMG_4551Because it is a bathroom and the surfaces will get wet, I HAD to put on a couple of coats of polyurethane. I did two coats on the sink cabinets and three on the tub cabinets. *I first let the cabinets dry for 24 hours before applying polyurethane.

I truly cannot believe what a difference just the cabinets make. I plan to paint the walls a light grey and have some storage solutions and pretty things to go up on the wall. Hopefully I will get that done this weekend and be able to show you the finished master next week!

This project cost me $35 dollars: I bought the paint ($18-20), a brush and tarp to lay down because I was out. I should have skipped buying the brush because I bought a “cabinet roller” from Lowe’s thinking that would save time. Turns out, in my opinion, paint does not go on well with those. So I scrapped that idea quickly and got my trusty ol’ brush out. So the project could have cost me only $25.

As far as time frame goes…. y’all, I decided to do this at 8:00am, researched on pinterest until probably 1o:00am, sanded and cleaned every surface and taped off edges, went to lowe’s, picked Ryder up at 12:30, came home and painted the first coat (always takes the longest), picked Rory up from school at 2:30, finished and had the cabinets back together by the time Andy got home from work at 5:30. So half a day for a major bathroom change! Side note: I didn’t inform Andy I was doing this project so he came home to a surprise! ha!

I mean…. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS AND HALF A DAY FOR NEW CABINETS. You cannot beat that! I am so glad I stepped out of that fear/comfort zone and went for it. I think it makes the bathroom a million times better already! Can’t wait to show you the finished room!

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Apparently I had painters tape over a spot and well, that will need some touch up paint!

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I hope you enjoyed this Fixer Friday! I would love to see your fixer so use the #fixerfriday hashtag and I will be searching for yours!

Selfishly I am loving this new series on the blog because it has gotten me so inspired to go ahead with the projects I’ve had in my mind for the house. It is amazing what a can of paint and branching out of the box can do!

 

(I also linked this post up with The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday – I LOVE reading this blog and especially browsing the links on Friday!)

 

Fixer Fridays : China Cabinet Edition

I’m excited to start a new series on the blog today called “Fixer Fridays”.

Here’s the deal. I love to fix things up. Give me the nastiest piece of furniture and I will find a way for it to be revived. Show me a house that looks like a dump and I don’t see the bad, I see the good.

When Andy and I were looking for houses I really, REALLY, really wanted a fixer upper. We looked at a couple of “fixers” and I loved all of them. Unfortunately, I am also very practical and knew that with Andy’s work schedule and our budget currently it just wasn’t in the cards for me to get that fixer. So now my plan is to keep at it and eventually buy a cute little fixer that I can transform and then rent out. Compromise.

There are so many reasons why I love our new house, one of them being that there are some definite fixer things in the house. Our kitchen isn’t my favorite. Definitely functional and great bones, but the aesthetics and layout aren’t my favorite. There are a few other things with cosmetic changes coming their way.

Today I am going to show you the first furniture fixer I have done since moving to Cleveland. One issue with the kitchen is the lack of storage. I needed a place to hide small appliances and also something pretty in the room. When I lived in Savannah a precious lady sold me this china cabinet for $35. And it is the best $35 I’ve ever spent probably.

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The first step in redoing furniture is cleaning it. I always get a swiffer duster and dust the piece of furniture. Then I go in with a broom and clean the bottom of it to be sure there are no bugs. (I once bought a piece infested with spiders and I can’t even tell you what kind of nightmare that was.)

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The next step is sanding. I hate to sand, but you just gotta do it. I get my electric sander and buff all the “shine” off the piece of furniture. 99% of the time I don’t need to do more than a very light sanding to rough up the piece so the paint with grab onto it better. Once you are done sanding, take that duster you used earlier and get all the extra dirt the sander kicks up off of the furniture.

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Now it is time to paint! Tape off anything you don’t want paint on and get to it! I personally always use a brush to paint, but some use small rollers. The style I usually paint my pieces is an antique look where it isn’t perfect and looks aged so the brush works better with this technique. On this piece I did three coats, but most of the time two is enough. The paint I used was paint and primer together – Behr from Home Depot. I don’t know the color, but it is just white. I’ve used this quart of paint on 5 projects now. FIVE! IMG_4125 IMG_4188

After the paint dries it is time to rough that bad boy up! My favorite part of the process is this part. Sometimes I will look at a piece of furniture freshly painted and think, “oh man…. is this gonna work?!” because I HATE the way it looks sometimes before I rough it up.

To rough up the edges and give it the antique look I take a piece of sand paper and rub it on all the edges that would naturally wear down- like the corners and edges of the furniture. Some furniture and looks you want to achieve require the use of stain. I just rub the stain onto the furniture along the edges and then rub off with a clean rag until the desired amount is on the piece. The piece I’m showing you today I didn’t feel the need to use stain. Next time I do I will document that part and show you!

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Once you’ve sanded it the edges and make it your desired amount of “dirty”, you are done! Again, some pieces you may want to put some stain on the edges. If it is a piece of furniture you will be eating on you’ll need to polyurethane. I did my dining room table and added stain and polyurethane and that post can be found here.

So here is the piece before:

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IMG_4291It took me about 3 days from start to finish but I didn’t work in long time frames. If I would have had 4 hours without interruption I could have done it all in that time.

I hope you enjoyed this Fixer Friday and that you are inspired to buy something ugly and make it beautiful!

IMG_4259 IMG_4262 FullSizeRender IMG_4268 IMG_4260I’m so glad to be able to have something to hide ugly small appliances and also display my beautiful china that Andy’s mom gave to me!

I made a tiny video of the living, dining, and kitchen today. It was pouring down rain so sorry about the lighting!

 

Happy Fixer Friday!

 

 

 

eventually.

We have a saying around our house right now about 99.99999% of things.

Eventually.

Me: “I really want some floating shelves here….”

Andy: “Eventually.”

Me: “I want the entire downstairs to be painted grey.”

Andy: “Eventually.”

Me: “I want a Land Rover/Kate Spade purse/trip to Europe.”

Andy: “Eventually.”

HA HA HA HA

No but seriously. Eventually is like the key word around these parts.

We are too sore and tired to think of doing anything crazy right now. We have 200 boxes in our garage waiting to be unpacked.

Eventually.

I’ve gotten around to sprucing up some rooms the best I can for now, so I thought I’d show you what the house looked like before and what we have done so far.

And eventually I will show you the entire house done.

Eventually.

But it won’t be too terribly long because we have family coming in two weeks so I’m sure this weekend will be filled with projects.

Enjoy our new home that is a beautiful mess and will eventually be a little less messy and have a little less beige.

Things to note- I’m having computer troubles with my computer and have no editing software so these are unedited and not great pics. You’ll have to excuse that. When I post pictures later I promise to have them edited better. Secondly, I forgot to take after pics of some rooms so that’ll be done eventually too. I’m too sore to walk up and down the stairs an extra time.

Front Living room- Before & After:IMG_0424 IMG_0427 IMG_0455 IMG_0457

Kitchen/Dining Before (aka mid move):

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The kitchen is the only room in the house I plan to completely redo. It is my fixer upper compromise.

Eventually.

Powder Room – Before & After:

IMG_0428 IMG_0444 IMG_0442 It is a version of Tiffany blue. Because I love a cliche.

Bedrooms Before- none of these rooms are completely done but are very close so afters will be soon:

Rory’s room-

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This was on the wall in Rory’s room and I immediately took it down because I felt it was tempting fate a leeeeeeeettle too much. Am I right?!IMG_0400

Guest room/office:

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Ryder’s room- it is a burnt orange and she loves it much to my dismay. Eventually it will be a melon orange.IMG_0407The reason we knew this was our house was because of this next room.

You come down the hallway….IMG_0429Turn to the left and go up the stairs….

IMG_0450And all of a sudden you’re in this unexpected enormous family room. When we looked at the house this took my breath away. I hadn’t seen the master or upstairs yet but knew it was our house at that moment. I even proved my love of cliches by tearing up. I just could see ourselves living in this room as a family. Playing games, watching movies. Pictures can’t do it justice, but I triedish.

Before:

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So that is it for now. I am sad because I know these pictures don’t touch what the house actually looks like. Soon I will have it all done and take great pictures.

But that’ll come eventually.

Follow me on Instagram – @tiffanymcharris – for more updates! I posted a picture of my in progress coffee bar yesterday and it isn’t done but I love it already.

Happy Monday!

 

 

bless this house

Today we bought a house.

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A beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a gorgeous deck and back yard for the girls to play in.

Rory has a chandelier in her new room and a wall of mirrors to dance in front of. What could suite her better?! Ryder’s room has the perfect nook to create worlds in with her vivid imagination.

Andy and Ryder went to get the power and water turned on while Rory and I went to the new house to unload a few things.

But most importantly I needed some time to bless our house.

I know a lot of denominations have priests or pastors to come bless the house and I think that is wonderful.

For me, I just knew that it needed to be just me. My heart. My words. Just time for me to bless the house.

I walked through each room of the house and touched every wall.

“Lord. Bless this house.”

My words were soft and genuine. The more I walked and said those words, the harder the tears fell and the louder my cry was.

“Please, oh Lord. Bless this house.”

I got to the front door and put both hands on it as tears started flowing hard down my face.

“Lord, bless this house and everyone who walks through this door.”

I started thanking God for every opportunity we have had to lead us to this house: married young, college, first job and move to Louisiana, pregnant with my first baby and the big move to Texas, all those sleepless nights and two babies, Ryder’s surgery, Rory’s ear tubes and night terrors, our decision to move to TN, moving into our dream house in Savannah, two very hard years and being broken over things I could not change, Andy’s surprise phone call for a new  job, moving to East TN, nine beautiful months in a tiny apartment, and finally home in a gorgeous neighborhood and a beautiful house.

“Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us here. Thank you for every single hard thing we have endured along the way. Thank you for every single victory. Thank you for Andy’s job and his work ethic. Thank you for letting me be the ‘manager’ of this home. Thank you for this gift. Lord, let me lead well here. Let me create a joyful atmosphere for my family. Let the laughter and love run rampant in this home.”

I walked upstairs and saw Rory dancing in her room. Such joy on her face. The tears fell harder.

I went into Ryder’s room and touched every wall.

“Lord, bless this house.”

Then I literally fell to my knees. Put my face on the ground. Sobbing. Tears of joy and thankfulness.

“Lord, thank you. Thank you for Ryder. Thank you for saving her. Thank you for every single hard and terrible thing she has endured and that we have had to go through to get her where she is now. Thank you, Jesus, for Ryder. My joyful, precious baby. Lord, if there is anything evil and not of you in this room GET IT OUT. Anything that is not of you is not allowed in this room. Lord, help Ryder to feel safe in this room. Let her sleep well in this room. Please dear Jesus, let this be the room she grows in her desire for you. Lord, let this be the room we pray together in. Let this be the room she that she asks for her Salvation in You in. Let this be the room that she grows in her relationship with You. Let this be the room she finds her confidence in through You. Oh Jesus, bless this room. Bless this room.”

Rory is no longer in her room so I take the opportunity to go into her room. The tears fall even harder. I have fought for Ryder’s health, but I’ve fought harder for Rory in every single way. Again, I fall to my knees and choke back sobs.

“Jesus, oh Jesus. Bless this room. Thank you for my gorgeous, smart, precious Rory. Lord, thank you for her life. Thank you for every hard thing we have endured with her in her life. Thank you for every single time you made me fight for her. Thank you for her tenacious and strong-willed spirit. Thank you for her charm and witty nature. Oh, Jesus, bless this room. If there is anything in this room that is not of You, make it leave NOW. If there is anything that could cause harm to Rory, get it out. Help Rory to feel safe in this room. Help her to finally sleep well in this room. Please, oh Lord, let her sleep. Oh, Jesus, let this be the room she gives her heart to you in. Let this be the room we pray together in and that she asks you for Salvation. Lord, let this be the room that she flourishes in. Let this be the room she discovers and explores who she is in You. Let this be the room where her mischievous spirit is warped into wanting knowledge in good things. Lord bless this room. Oh, God, bless this room.”

I walk downstairs to go into the master bedroom to pray and find the most beautiful sight on earth.

There she is, my tender-hearted Rory, on her knees in the middle of the room. She has tears on her face. And then I hear it.

“Jesus, bless this room. Thank you for this room for mom and dad. Help them to be happy in this room. Help them to sleep in this room. Help them to feel safe in this room. Thank you for the two closets and the bathroom just for them. Thank you for the tub mommy can relax in. Lord, bless daddy and mommy’s room.”

I’m not sure if I have ever cried such tears in my life. Tears of joy, thankfulness, and pure love.

Rory watched me bless the house and she blessed me the most by going to my room and blessing it for me.

Then she asked me if we could go bless the bedroom Papa, Mimi, Gigi and Grandpa would stay in.

“Lord, let this room have my Papa, Mimi, Grandpa and Gigi in it all the time. Let them come to my house and love coming here. Let them sleep good in this room. Let me have slumber parties with them. Let this be happy. Let us always have friends and family in it. Thank for for this room. Bless this room, Jesus. Amen.”

I could not have asked for a more perfect day blessing my house with my precious Rory.

“Oh, Jesus, bless our house.”

 

the great home and kindergarten search of 2015

Last week was one of those crazy busy weeks that involved so many big decisions it was hard to keep up with “normal” life things. Like laundry. Which I can attest to since Andy and I put up approximately 347 loads of laundry yesterday.

On Monday we embarked on The Great Home Search of 2015 with much anticipation and joy. We saw A LOT of homes the very first night.

I hated very single one.

Okay, maybe that isn’t true. There were two I liked alright, but I will say I was so discouraged that I thought for one second just maybe we should wait longer to buy a home.

And considering the lady/elephant that lives above me hasn’t slept in DAYS and stomps around AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT,  you must know just how discouraged I must have been to live like this any longer by choice.

(I am currently writing this at 4:46am because her alarm went off at 4:18 and she has been stomping around ever since. Hilarious note about the situation: Rory has taken it upon herself to yell randomly in the night when the situation gets out of hand…. it goes something like this, “HEY LADY GO TO BED ALREADY!” Not even kidding.)

(One more hilarious murderous note: One night this week I got the kids to bed earlyish and after went to the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet – tmi – and sighed a huge sigh of satisfaction that the day was done and relished in my moment of quiet and aloneness in the bathroom for the first time the entire day. AND THEN NEIGHBOR LADY PROCEEDED TO TAKE THE MOST GIANT, LOUD DUMP OF LIFE and I thought…. I AM TRULY NEVER ALONE IN THE BATHROOM EVER. You’re welcome for that.)

Luckily we have the best realtor on earth and on Wednesday my spirits perked up 40000% after seeing a lot more homes that day.

In fact, Andy and I saw three that we were totally in love with and had finally narrowed it down to one semi fixer upper in a neighborhood we adore that is close to their work.

We had 3 more homes on Thursday to see but had no hopes of them measuring up to the ones we had seen the day before. But Andy had found a for sale by owner house online in our favorite neighborhood and really wanted to see it.

We all walked into the home with zero expectations and each room we walked into felt more like home than the last. Before we even made it upstairs I was in tears and saying, “Andy I think this is the one.”

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The home is two stories/split level and has just the exact amount of room, character, and charm we wanted. It also has a kitchen that isn’t my favorite so I am looking forward to having one room in the house to redo eventually.

We are officially under contract and as long as everything with the home inspection, etc, goes smoothly we should be in our new home by summer.

As if finding a home wasn’t enough for one week, it was also the week of “Kindergarten Rocks” which is an open house at all elementary schools in the county. I’ve been hearing amazing things about one school that is near our new neighborhood and it has great scores so we went and checked it out. I was so impressed by the school and how well organized the open house was. Rory was GIDDY to be there checking out Kindergarten. So that night we officially registered her for Kindergarten and I immediately needed someone to hold me and rock gently as I sobbed.

I will say this though- Rory is ready. She be-bopped around the school with me and I was just in awe at how big she was. I can’t wait to see her thrive in school which, like her daddy, is HER THING. She is a learner and loves every second of learning a new thing.IMG_3864

I’m praying every single day that she makes wonderful friends who are kind to her and to others. I’m praying that she will always love on those who need it the most in her class. I’m praying that God will choose the exact teacher she needs to challenge her, encourage her to be herself, and reign her in when she needs to be without crushing her spirit.

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Oh, Rory girl, I know you are so ready but Momma is wanting it to take a little longer for August to get here.

This week is spring break for the girls and we have lots of fun planned! Tomorrow I will post about our hiking trip this weekend – we are hoping spring is here to stay so we can go on these free adventures all the time!

 

the vacation(s) recap post.

There are a few things you should know.

1) IT IS FREAKING COLD. I just want y’all to know this because I know no one on earth is talking about it. I feel I should break the silence.

2) I have the worst case of vacation hangovers ever in the history of ever.

No but seriously. This morning Rory asked me if I would ever wear nice clothes again. Bless her heart.

But here’s the deal. Its freaking cold and I don’t want to get out of sweats because I can’t get over my tired from vacation.

The funny thing about it is that we got a decent amount of sleep and I even slept in a few days at the end of vacation. Shocking, right? Andy and I had a system though and it worked out well for both of us.

Let’s rewind here and do a little recap.

After a few glorious days at home over Christmas, we loaded up and headed for the beach. One of my best friends, Misty, and her husband recently got a beach house in Gulf Shores and graciously invited us and three other families to join us.

I’m going to be real honest, I was a bit worried about the trip. Five families (one I had never met before) in one house. 12 kids under the same roof. That sounds like INSANITY, doesn’t it people?!

Let me tell you something.

It was a stinkin’ blast. Those kids played SO WELL together. I mean, we barely broke up a single “fight”. The house was big enough for everyone to sleep and the living space is so well laid out that we didn’t feel on top of each other AT ALL. In fact, when we were inside, we barely saw the kids. They went off and did their own thing in the loft areas.

It was pretty much the best vacation of my life. I know that is a strong statement, but seriously. Cassidy, Kayla, and Misty are seriously my sister wives. They are the kind of friends you wait your whole life hoping you get lucky enough to have. They know my worst and, hopefully, my best and they still love me. Well. They better still love me. To get to spend a week with them and their husbands who I love too (don’t tell them though) was a dream come true. You know it is so rare to find friends that you honest to goodness love their spouses just as much. I have had plenty of friends that their spouses weren’t my favorite or that Andy would never be friends with. Basically what I am saying is, I won the stinkin’ lottery with these friends. I won’t ever get over being thankful for them. Then we threw another couple that I had never met before but instantly fell in love with too and it was just the best week of life.

I mean I wish I could tell you we did something insanely excited at the beach but…. actually no. I don’t wish that. Because I stayed in my pjs and *GASP* didn’t wear hardly any makeup for the entire vacation and OH MY GOSH IT WAS AMAZING. We sat out on the porch in our pajamas and watched the kids play in the sand. The craziest thing we did was play Heads Up after the kids were in bed and I may or may not have almost peed my pants from laughing. I also may or may not have pulled a muscle demonstrating break dancing. It was pretty epic.

I made a little video to put a bunch of pics and little clips in one place- here it is:

It was the saddest day ever having to leave. I held it together until I got in the car and then I cried like the baby I am when it comes to leaving my besties. It is just so hard because there is never any indication when I will see them next and it just makes me so sad. Andy and I seriously say all the time that if Texas would’ve been 4 hours closer to home we wouldn’t have ever moved. He loved his job there and I loved every single thing about Texas EXCEPT that it was just so far away from all our family. I am constantly trying to convince the girls they need to move closer to ME. ha!

From GS we headed to Gatlinburg to spend a few days with Andy’s family. It was a nice trip and we had a lot of fun. The girls obviously loved being spoiled by his family and all the attention of the aunts and uncles and grandparents. We played a ton of putt putt (and learned that Ryder is a putt-putt prodigy with EIGHT total hole-in-ones over three games) and walked about a hundred miles shopping while we were there. Rory was in heaven with all the signs of “Dolly Partner”. I think for her birthday we will have a Dolly Parton party. Her life would be made. Here are a few fun pictures from the trip:

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Andy and I had a plan that while in GS I would take care of the kids more and let him relax more and in Gatlinburg he would let me sleep in and relax more. It was the perfect plan and we both felt like we had the most relaxing two vacations in history. Teamwork at its best, people.

Let me tell you something else about the past few weeks.

Andy had off 13 total days. Since we have been married that has never happened, ever. I’m going to be brutally honest here…. I was worried about it. I thought “oh dear lord we are gonna be so sick of each other on day 3”.

But let me tell you what actually happened. Instead of getting tired of each other, we tag teamed SO well and had the most fantastic 13 days of our marriage probably. I’m not even kidding y’all about this. You know I wouldn’t lie to you. If it was awful I would tell you.

The first five days were spent at home and these were the days I was worried about the most. I am so used to be home alone that it is hard for me to break our routine and have someone else in the mix with me and the girls for so long. Andy stepped up to the plate though and helped me. We BOTH relaxed and took turns handling things with the kids. I was almost sad to leave and go on vacation because we were having such a great time together and with the girls. Then we headed on two different vacations and tagged teamed again and BAM best 13 days in history. Also, there isn’t much better for marriage than long car rides to get to talk and laugh together.

The day he went back to work I literally cried. (Shocker. I mean I never cry or anything.)

He got home from work that first day and said, “I missed you today!” as soon as he walked in the door and I cried again. Because Andy is not a talker (understatement) and is not mister “let me express my emotions ever”, so when he walked in and immediately said that it just melted my little heart more than anything he’s ever said. I had missed him all stinkin’ day and was so glad to be missed as well. I’ve missed him every single day this week and am longing for the weekend.

And now it is horribly cold and I feel bad even complaining because I have friends in NEGATIVE degree weather. But it makes for a hard time doing ANYTHING other than hunkering down under some covers and watching TV. The problem with that is the fact that I have children who have the nerve to want me to feed them and play with them and mother them. The little savages.

Hope y’all had a great holiday and are staying warm. Andy is working 90% of his days outside right now and I feel insanely sorry for him and anyone else out in the cold all day. I feel a pot of taco soup coming on, what about y’all?!

Happy Thursday!

 

a simple, magical Christmas

I was in the living room folding clothes the first day we were back from Thanksgiving when I heard it; the first sign of the magic of Christmas in the girls’ voices.

Rory: Ryder! Did you know that Santa is coming soon? We don’t have a chimney but mom will leave the door open for him!

Ryder (much gasping and expression in her voice): NO! Is it SO SOON?! Did you know, Whoa-wy, that Santa is going to park them reindeers right on the balcony outside?!

And on and on it went, one imaginative story after another. It must have went on for 30 minutes.

The best part? I have barely talked to them about Santa other than confirming he will be coming and singing the typical Christmas songs. They are just making all these fun things up on their own.

What’s even more magical? Hearing them talk, on their own, about the birth of our Savior. They love to play with the nativity set and they love to talk about the angel and the star and “that baby Jesus who was so sweet all wrapped up in waddling clothes”. I mean, does it get any more precious than that?

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Rory said a prayer the other night before bed and it went something like this: “Dear Lord, thank you for this day and everything you gave us. Thank you for Christmas and for sending Jesus to live in our hearts. He is a precious gift. We love you and Amen.”

Tears. I couldn’t even open my eyes, I was so humbled.

Because I’m going to be honest, I’ve had a few weeks of being a butt in my heart and mind about Christmas. I have missed my house in Savannah. My beautiful yellow house that I’ve dreamed about my whole life and just, literally, fell into our laps at an amazing price. It was so easy. It was so gorgeous. It had everything I had ever wanted.

And here I am in our “800 square feet of fun” with no room for my giant tree that fit like a dream in our old house.

WHAT. A. FREAKING. BRAT.

Sometimes I’m just appalled at myself. What is wrong with me?! I mean, seriously.

When I finally got over my ungrateful, wretched behavior, I got out our “half tree” (yes, it is only HALF a tree- completely flat on one half) up and decorated.

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And I fell madly in love with the simplicity of it.

It is decorated with the ornaments we get every time we go on a trip and all our “first” ornaments- first Christmas engaged, first Christmas married, babies first Christmases. These ornaments that show of our lives together as a family, before and after children.

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Instead of decorating the entire apartment from head to toe, the girls and I put a few simple decorations. For a change, I put out decorations they could actually touch and play with. I mean. WHAT A SHOCKER. Can you even fathom your children living in your home and getting to touch the beautiful things that make Christmas so magical?!

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They were giddy over it. I was giddy over it. It took me an hour to put everything up and it’ll take the same to take down. Isn’t that a relief?!

When I saw and felt how delighted I was in the simplicity of my tree and decorations I started to crave simplicity in the entire season.

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We have had a big, complex year. Though this move was something we have dreamed of as far as location and promotions for Andy goes, it has also been the hardest as a family. Seeing your child miss their friends and cry over being farther from grandparents is harder than I could’ve ever imagined. It has just been an emotional experience for us.

So, I took a long, hard look at the things that always stress me out and make me forget what Christmas is really about. The things Andy and I argue about. The things that we need to financially cut out and put towards more important things.

There was one thing that I kept going back to that met all of the above stresses: Christmas Cards.

This one was a hard pill to swallow. It took me a long while to become rational. I mean, what would Christmas be without getting a card from us this year?!

In the end, I knew it had to be the first thing to let go.

Because I’m a crazy person, I stress HARD over that perfect Christmas card. I stress over the fact that they need to be PERFECT. It would be horrible if I had a typo or *GASP* if someone else in my circle picked the same card. And don’t even get me started on my perfect handwriting for the envelopes- I am an insane person when it comes to this part of the cards. Also, I have NO CONTROL when it comes to sending the cards. I can’t cut people off the list. It is just too hard for me. Last year I spent SIXTY EIGHT DOLLARS on Christmas cards BEFORE postage. HECK TO THE NO NO NO NO NO NO. I simply just COULD.NOT. do that this year. Could not.

So the first thing I cut this year was the beloved/stress-me-the-heck-out Christmas card.

Instead, we are going to be spending the money I always spend on Christmas cards to give a child presents she wouldn’t get without someone “adopting” her this Christmas. I feel my girls need to experience that much more than they need to be on a card that people throw away at the end of the season.

We have also decided that we will be sending Christmas day here at home, just us four. We have travel plans the week before and after Christmas, but for three days it’ll be just us at home. Andy has off and we want to enjoy time together and let the kids actually enjoy their presents. We will not get out of our Christmas pajamas all day on Christmas. It will be amazing. 

I can’t wait to see how the girls’ imaginations continue to grow and all the ways we can help to make this season wonderfully significant for them, because Christ’s birth is just that- wonderfully significant.

I’m so looking forward to a simple, magical Christmas.

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*Feel free to save the above picture and print it out as our Christmas card. That was as much as I could do, and I even put a 5 minute timer on myself so I wouldn’t stress over it.

What are YOU doing to simplify the holiday season this year? I would love to know!

our new adventure.

*I apologize for this post in some areas- most of this comes from my journal that I keep and I wrote it over the course of about a week or so and I just kind of copied that and added some in between.

On June 18th, Andy came home and said, “Well. I got a call about a job today.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We have officially moved every two years or less since we have been married. I can hardly keep up anymore.

My mind immediately went into overdrive. I asked Andrew approximately 1000000 questions. He knew maybe 8 answers of those because, hello, he had no more info than that at this point.

The problem with these weeks of limbo between the initial call and the interview (which took longer to set up because of 4th of July holiday) is that life goes on but also stops. People start talking about plans in the future and all you can think is how you might not be around anymore.

But, at the same time, there is no guarantee from one phone call that you will move or that it will work out. So you try and stay connected and involved (and in my case this time still trying to make friends here) even though you aren’t sure it is worth the effort if we will be moving. (That sounds harsh, but I don’t know how else to say it.)

So, basically, these last few weeks have been very much hurry up and wait. We have kept completely silent minus immediate family and very, very few out of town friends.

We finally went to Cleveland (aka our Chattanooga family vacation…) and Andy had his interview. The company bent over backwards to ensure we were set up and had a great experience. Andy rocked his interview, of course, and they verbally offered him a job that day. Wednesday we got the official paper work in. We said a lot of “this is really happening!” to each other. Tears were shed. Giggles were fluent. We were ecstatic.

Honestly.

It is hard to believe we are facing this again.

A move.

Andy got the call about this job exactly two years after we moved from Texas to TN. When we accepted the job at the Counce mill and moved to Tennessee we thought this would be it. The very last move.

I also said and thought I’d never live in (and especially LOVE) Louisiana and Texas. So. Clearly I have no idea.

I have such extreme mixed feelings about this move, just like any other move.

Thinking about living my work FAMILY has made me shed many, many tears. LOTS OF SOBS. I would lie awake at night thinking about how I would never make it through telling them we were leaving without sobbing. I just can’t imagine leaving them, leaving my job, leaving “my” patients. I just love my job and work family so very much.

And of course, the friends we do have here mean so much to me as well and I hate leaving them too.

The hardest part is definitely telling your friends goodbye.

But, y’all know I am also so excited about this new adventure. Moving is always hard in some areas but if you know me you know I love and crave change. So I’m completely ready for our next adventure as a family. (Adventure is the only word that can describe it- I think of every move as just that. A beautiful, new adventure God has given me.)

This has very much so come out of no where. Andy and I had zero intentions to move. Andy especially planned to live in Savannah forever.

So, as with every move, we are overwhelmed with bittersweet feelings.

We will so miss living THIS CLOSE to family. That has been such a wonderful treat after not having it. I wouldn’t trade a single second here because my girls finally got to know their grandparents, aunts, and cousins so well. And I’m so glad we won’t be TOO far so they can continue to build these beautiful relationships with them.

We know God has placed this amazing opportunity for Andy and our family exactly where and when He sees fitting best. We are just so excited to see the plans He has for our family in a new location.

Also, let me say this: I am overwhelmed with pride for my sweet husband. Andy is the hardest worker I know. He has reached every single goal he has ever wanted. He is so driven and gets what he wants because he earns it. I couldn’t be happier for him for this awesome promotion and for all the accomplishments I’ve been by his side to see.

He makes every single move worthwhile.

We cannot wait to see what Cleveland, TN has to offer the Harris family and what WE have to offer Cleveland.

I  just don’t think they can prepare themselves for the Harris family…. 😉

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***update: as predicted, lots of tears were had at work today when I told my boss and coworkers. LOTS O’ TEARS.

 

dining table redo

I know, I know. It has been a while since I have posted and all of you have been staring at your screens just waiting to hear from me.

Or something like that.

Well, things have been interesting (?) around here this week. This weekend everyone kind of came down with a sinus infection/cold. Rory was NOT SLEEPING. Like revert back to the old days when she would be up ALL NIGHT LONG.

Then antibiotics happened and everything was becoming so much better and BAM! antibiotics caused *ahem* poop issues.

So I’ve been up to my eyeballs in dirty diapers and diaper rashes and AY YI YI – is this my life?! Do I really blog about poop like every time now?!

Pretty much.

Thank the good Lord above that all seems to be settling down in that area.

Let us move on.

I will now switch over and try and pretend to be a “real blogger”.

Last week I worked my stinkin’ butt off to get my childhood dining room table done in time for a dinner party of sorts we were having on Sunday night. I posted a quick before/after picture and had SO MANY people tell me they wanted a detailed post about how to do their own tables. So, today I will do just that!

tablebeforeafterWhen I say worked my butt off, I mean that LITERALLY. I was so sore from all the squatting going on that I could barely even sit on the toilet, much less get up from it.

Re-doing furniture = lots of squats = workout!

My butt is perkier this week, for sure.

This was a tricky project for me, I will be honest. Not as far as the work goes, but mentally.

As I said before, this was the dining room table I grew up eating almost every meal on. Memories flooded my mind and heart as I worked on this project.

Dinners as a family- my two older sisters and I sitting with our parents on any given night and holding hands (whether we wanted to or not) and bowing our heads to pray over our meal… taking our first bite and reciting the same thing every single night, “Mom, you make the bestest food!” and my mom (acting shocked every single night) saying, “Well, you just made my day!” in her most endearing southern drawl… the occasional fight between sisters (meaning the older ones, never me- HA!), but mainly an abundance of laughter because anyone who knows the McIntire clan knows that laughter is ALWAYS in abundance… tears from hard days at school and work… chocolate gravy and biscuits on many, many, many Christmas mornings… I could go on for days at the amazing memories I have surrounding this table.

So when I started this project I was nervous. I wanted to get it right, do it perfectly.

The table started out looking like this:

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IMG_7074I searched on Pinterest to try and find inspiration for what I wanted to do with this table. This is the table that I kept reverting back to as my inspiration.

54b971bd20c7b87cfb04e229017c51b3(source: The Cozy Cape)

The table is older, so it was worn down quite a bit. I started out sanding the top part down to strip it as much as possible. I sanded for about an hour. Thankfully it was already stripped so much from years of use!

photo copy 9The stain I used was MinWax Woodfinish in Dark Walnut. I wanted something darker but not black, but Dark Walnut was as dark without being Ebony they had at my Lowe’s. So, that meant just putting on extra coats to get the color I wanted.

I used two staining sponges they have at the store right near the cans of stain and used that to stain the table top. The key to staining is to do long, even strokes with the grain of the wood. I let the stain sit 10-15 minutes after applying it, and then wiped it off with a clean lint free cloth. This was by far the most tedious part of the project, but oh so worth it! I did about six-eight coats of stain because I knew I wanted it really dark.

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photo copy 5The staining definitely took me two-three days to get perfect. After it was completely dry we put on three light coats of polyacrylic. I used this instead of polyurethane because it doesn’t smell as strong and it isn’t as tacky and it also dries faster.

Between coats of stain, I worked on the chairs and the bottom/stand of the table. This part was so much easier than I expected it to be.

I got a primer and paint in one and used that so I didn’t have to sand this part of the table. I applied two coats of paint on the bottom of the table and the chairs (note: Andy helped me with the chairs!). The coats were NOT perfect. I didn’t want them or need them to be. Here is the bottom of the table after the first light coat of paint:

photo copy 8Now- to antique it! After you get the desired coverage on your piece and the paint dries, just take some sandpaper and rub the edges that would be naturally worn down over time. Again, none of this is an exact science. You can make it however “worn” you want!

After I sanded down the edges, I took the same stain I used on the top of the table and put some on a clean, lint free cloth (I used one of Andy’s old undershirts). I just took the cloth that had stain on it and rubbed it along the sanded down edges and then wiped it off immediately with a clean cloth. I did this over and over until I got the desired look. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this part with my “real” camera and just did it with my phone so the picture isn’t great.

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I did this same process with the chairs after they were painted and dry. Once the stain was completely dry on top, we reassembled the table and painted the bottom lip of the table white and distressed/antiqued it too.

Then the table was done!

IMG_7098IMG_7095I am absolutely IN LOVE with how the table turned out. I am so excited for all the many, many more memories to be made here on this table with my own family. And I’m so thankful I get to make those on a table that some of my favorite memories of how I grew up were made on.